ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — That nasty stomach bug, the Sydney strain of the norovirus, is still hitting the St. Louis area.
Missouri health officials say there have been seven norovirus outbreaks confirmed in the state since the start of the year — four in St. Louis County, and three in mid-Missouri. Four other outbreaks in St. Louis County are likely, but not yet confirmed.
In those seven confirmed outbreaks alone, there have been at least 269 individual cases of people getting sick. Symptoms to look for are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fevers and body aches.
St. Louis Health official say nearly all people who caught the virus in Missouri were in long term care or senior facilities.
As for prevention efforts?
“The most important thing is hand washing, hand hygiene, and making sure every time you use the bathroom you wash your hands afterwards,” infectious diseases specialist Nirav Patel at St. Louis University Hospital said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the norovirus causes about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year, mostly in young children and the elderly.